Nevada vs. Texas Southern: Game Preview, TV, Radio, Live Stream, Odds, More
Wolf Pack should be on high alert against pesky Tigers
With a big game this weekend, the Pack can’t afford to look past Texas Southern
WHO: Nevada (7-4, 1-0 MWC) vs. Texas Southern (3-6, 0-0 SWAC)
WHEN: Wednesday, December 18 — 7:00 P.M. PT / 8:00 P.M. MT
WHERE: Lawlor Events Center, Reno, NV
WATCH: Nevada Sports Net
ALL-TIME: This is the first meeting between the two schools.
ODDS: Nevada -15, per KenPom
The Wolf Pack’s five-game winning streak ended last week when BYU trounced Nevada in Provo, 75-42. And with another WCC foe on the horizon—a date with Saint Mary’s awaits on Saturday—Steve Alford can’t afford to let his team look past Texas Southern.
The Tigers made quite a name for themselves last year as a giant killer, knocking off Oregon, Baylor, and Texas A&M during the non-conference season. Though this year’s squad isn’t quite as good as last year’s, Johnny Jones is sure to have some tricks up his sleeve for his old employer.
Between his previous head coaching gig at LSU and his current job at Texas Southern, Jones served as associate head coach for Nevada in 2017-18. Despite his team’s headline-stealing upsets, Texas Southern fell short of the NCAA Tournament last season and had to settle for a CIT Semifinals appearance in March.
The Tigers have yet to recreate any of the magic from last season, stumbling out to a 3-6 start, which includes one victory over non-Division I opponent Concordia (TX). Outside of a close call in a 69-63 loss to Wichita State, the average margin in the Tigers’ five other losses is 27 points per game.
Nevada comes into Wednesday with a record of 7-4, though none of the losses are necessarily prohibitive to their longshot NCAA Tournament hopes. The biggest issue for their resume is that they don’t have any good wins. This game against Texas Southern won’t provide that opportunity, but there’s a big juicy chance waiting on Saturday when Nevada travels to San Francisco to take on St. Mary’s.
But even though Texas Southern hasn’t scored their marquee upset yet, that doesn’t put Nevada in the clear. The Wolf Pack’s shooters have to be on target, lest they suffer their first objectively bad loss of 2019-20.
On NEVADA’S POSSESSIONS…
The green light is on for the Wolf Pack under Alford. Per Sports-Reference, the team ranks 37th in the nation in three-point attempts—and more importantly, 13th in the country in three-point makes. Jazz Johnson, Lindsey Drew, and Nisre Zouzoua are all shooting over 40% on more than four long-range shots per game. Jalen Harris, meanwhile, leads the team in scoring and does most of his scoring inside the arc.
Nevada takes great care of the ball, averaging just 12 giveaways per game. So they don’t lose many possessions to carelessness, but because they shoot so many threes, there aren’t as many opportunities for second chances on the offensive boards. But if any team is going to let the Wolf Pack crash the glass, it’s Texas Southern, who has one of the worst defensive rebound rates in the nation.
ON TEXAS SOUTHERN’S POSSESSIONS…
The Tigers have really struggled on offense, even in comparison to their lowly defense. If Steve Alford is giving his squad a permanent green light, Johnny Jones has his team stuck on red. Texas Southern shoots a very low number of three-pointers, perhaps because they are connecting on well under 30% of them. Tyrik Armstrong is the team’s leading scorer, but he is going to get a lot of attention from Lindsey Drew and the rest of Nevada’s backcourt.
All that attention will likely expose what is perhaps Texas Southern’s biggest weakness: their turnovers. The Tigers average a giveaway on nearly a quarter of their possessions, which means Nevada might finally have a chance to force a few. The Wolf Pack are near the bottom of the ranks in defensive turnover rate. Nevada has been a good defensive rebounding team, while Texas Southern is nothing special on the offensive glass.
NEVADA 86, TEXAS SOUTHERN 68
After laying an egg last week, expect the Wolf Pack offense to be back in form at home against Texas Southern. The Tigers may keep up for a while, but Nevada should be able to run away with this one over the full forty minutes. And if they want to hang on to their slim chances at an NCAA Tournament bid, they had better fall prey to this trap game.
Andrew is a current USBWA member, covering college basketball for multiple outlets, including Mountain West Wire of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Busting Brackets of the FanSided Network. He also runs the Dieckhoff Power Index, a college basketball analytics system, and provides bracketology predictions throughout the season.